2015 was literally off to a flying start, as I welcomed in the New Year whilst completing pre-landing duties on an A380 flight from Paris. A part of the role as Cabin Crew is working around the clock on any given day of the year, regardless of the occasion, be it Christmas, New Year’s, birthdays, anniversaries…it is all a part of the sacrifices one trades in for the opportunity to explore the world! I was lucky enough to have a 26 hour layover in the city of lights with my good friend Rachel. After a smooth yet busy flight (two services on the 380 really is a stretch when it is full, especially with 498 passengers in economy!), Rachel and I arranged to catch a taxi into the city with a fellow crew member and her sister, in order to avoid waiting in the cold at the train station, and wasting valuable Parisian time!
There was no set plan for the afternoon, so we meandered down the Champs-Élysées, and experienced a sensory overload of festive, happy cheer! The smell of roasting chestnuts filled the air and the streets were buzzing. The scene was complete with a caramel crepe and countless photos of us enjoying an afternoon on solid ground. Paris is a wonderful city that continues to astound me every time I travel there (which is quite often!). The city, like many in Europe, is a little edgy, with an equally charming atmosphere and beautiful monuments and facades that simultaneously distract and delight from the more grungy aspects of the city of lights. We had arranged to have a nice French dinner in an authentic bistro, but once we saw the Christmas markets in full swing by the Eiffel tower, there was no stopping us from sharing a delicious pork knuckle and Sauerkraut. To top off the evening, we toasted to good fortune and good friends with a glass of Moet beneath the glittering, twinkly lights that grace the Eiffel tower every hour! It was a fantastic way to relax and enjoy the evening before what was sure to be a busy flight the next day!
Waking up at 3am to fly to Paris at 7am meant that we were both ready for bed after dinner, so we journeyed for over an hour back to the hotel (staying near the airport for work means a later wake up call, but it takes more time to go and sight see) and then called it a night. The next day we had some breakfast at the buffet (one of my favorite perks of the job!) and then we were off. I left Paris in 2014 and came back to Dubai in 2015. Another crazy long, busy, fun day in the flying office it was!
After Paris, it was limited rest (around 11 hours is the legal minimum… it sounds sufficient but it can be a real challenge!), it was time to jet off on another A380 flight to Manchester.
This one I was looking forward to as I have friends in Manchester and it is such an unexpectedly quirky city! Another 3am start and by 10am we had taken off and I was stealing away a spare moment to gulp down a cup of tea before it was back to the bar cart- G & T was the flavour of the flight! I must’ve made over 100 Gin and Tonic’s alone, not to mention countless Bloody Marys! There was definitely a party atmosphere in economy which made the time pass quicker. It is roughly 7 hours from Dubai to Manchester so we were very grateful to land. The weather was gloomy and grisly but this failed to dampen my spirits. I spent the day amongst friends in the city, where we dined at a lovely café called Teacup and had the yummiest soup and cake! Who would’ve thought that parsnips could be so delicious? Shopping was on the cards, as I love the variety between different cities in all of the UK department stores. I stopped to take some pictures outside a beautiful gift shop, Oklahoma and generally enjoyed the crisp air and friendly faces. For dinner, we had some lovely local pizza in Chorlton, a very cute up and coming suburb just out of the city. After some good old fashioned trashy TV and a cuddle with a very cute kitten, it was time for me to return to the hotel feeling very full and content!
It may just sound like a regular day, but those are the ones you tend to cherish most when you live away from family and close friends! It is a very challenging rewarding role that has many ups and downs. It taught me to appreciate the little things in life, so that you can fully embrace the big and exciting things all the better! After hours and hours of delays (another common yet unavoidable occurrence in the flying lifestyle) , it was finally time to journey back to the desert (almost 8 hours later!) and rest before my next flight- a sojourn to Stockholm!
After another short day off, I awoke much earlier than the rest of the world (or so it felt!) and prepared for my flight to Stockholm. This would be my first time to the Swedish capital and I was very happy to have swapped onto this flight for more days off, too! Afterwards I was travelling to Vancouver, so there was much packing and organizing to be taken care of. Once on the flight, I was greeted with a plethora of smiling, bubbly, blonde giants. (I kid you not, these people were so friendly and sunny and tall! I felt as though I was speaking to their kneecaps for most of the flight). These passengers were lovely and exactly how I had envisaged them. They even started to speak Swedish to me, which I took as a massive compliment. Also it was refreshing to hear as my background is partially Danish! After another jam-packed, action filled, bar cart-wielding flight, we landed on a runway that was surrounded by powdery white snow, so clear and bright that despite the cloudy weather, it hurt my eyes! A quick change of clothes and a steaming mug of hot chocolate later, three very rugged up Australians stepped out to explore the Old Town in search of some authentic Swedish meatballs and anything else Swedish we could get our hands on along the way!
After walking around and taking in the sights of the city, like the gorgeous Royal Palace and parliament buildings, we stopped at a quaint restaurant for a Swedish snack. I was most impressed that there was some lygon berry sauce on the menu with our meatballs, which is a tangy berry much like cranberry that goes excellently with the creamy gravy! We shopped around for a bit (can you see a bit of a pattern forming here?!) and then it was time to retire to my beautiful duck-egg blue room at the hotel. It was about 3pm when the sun went down. It was literally pitch black, and after traipsing around in the rain and snow until around about 5pm- over 6 hours of walking around in total! It is essential for one’s health (and one’s sanity) to rest between flights (even on layovers) because Cabin Crew is a very physically demanding role! That is why we are placed (for the most part) such lovely hotels to ensure we receive proper rest and recuperation before flying again next! This is why cabin crew must pass such rigorous medical and psychometric tests, in order to make sure they can handle the workload and demanding nature of the role. This is definitely something to consider when applying for roles. It’s not only your personality that defines your suitability, but your attitude as well. All the best on your journey to the skies!